• Alex Parry

Texas Method Review: The Pros and the Cons

The texas method is a popular strength programme, but who is it best for? What are the major pros and cons? And is right for you? In this complete texas method review, we'll be looking at:


Let's jump straight in.


texas method review

What Is The Texas Method?


The texas method is a 3 day per week intermediate strength program. It is designed for people who have recently completed a novice linear progression such as starting strength or stronglifts and who now need to progress weekly rather than every single session.



Who made Texas method?


The texas method originated from US Weightlifting Coach Glenn Pendlay (Who I had the pleasure of being coached by from 2018-2019).


Glenn's athletes would typically perform 5x5 squats on both Monday and Friday, but one of his athletes complained that they didn't want to do the Friday squats. Glenn, being the kind of guy that he was, made them a deal; if they could hit a new 5 rep max then they wouldn't have to do the 5x5 sets. The athlete hit the new 5 rep max, and so the texas method was born.



Texas Method Program


We'll go through each day in detail below, but here's a quick overview of what the texas method program looks like...


texas method program

Texas Method Volume Day


Monday is the texas method workout with the most volume, i.e. the most total sets. The original programme calls for 5x5 squats, 5x5 bench press and 5x3 power clean. These are typically performed at 80-90% of your previous Friday's 5 rep max.



Texas Method Recovery Day


Wednesday is the texas method workout based around recovery, so you'll perform a much lower volume of work (less sets) and the weights you use will also be lighter. Typically you'll lift weights that are 80-90% of what you did on Monday.



Texas Method Intensity Day


Friday is the texas method workout that pushes up the intensity, i.e. has you lift heavier weights. The program calls for a 5 rep max in the squat, bench or press, and deadlift. You'll have to work hard and focus, but you'll only have to do one challenging set.



Texas Method Template


The great thing about the texas method is that it's far more of a template than it is a strictly written program. You can adapt the principles in dozens of different ways and still get great results, so long as you follow the overall texas method template of:


  • Day 1: Volume Day

  • Day 2: Recovery Day

  • Day 3: Intensity Day


Texas Method for Powerlifting


An example of a smart way to adapt the texas method is to make it more specific to powerlifting. You would take out the power cleans and replace them with a lighter deadlift variation. Plus you would take out the overhead press to focus exclusively on bench press. So the texas method for powerlifting would look like this:


  • Day 1: Squat 5x5, Bench 5x5, Lighter deadlift variation 3x5

  • Day 2: Squat 2x5, Bench 2x5, GHR or Back extension 3x10-15

  • Day 3: Squat 5rm, Bench 5rm, Deadlift 5rm



Texas Method Powerbuilding


Another option if you want to make the texas method a little more hypertrophy (muscle gain) biased, is to change the rep schemes and add in a bit of extra assistance work. An example looks like this:


  • Day 1: Squat 4x8, Bench 4x8, Row 4x8 + Optional 3x10 arms

  • Day 2: Squat 2x8, Bench 2x8, GHR/Back Ext 3x10-15

  • Day 3: Squat 8rm, Bench 8rm, Deadlift 8rm + Optional Chin-Ups



Texas Method Pros


Alright, now that we know what the programme looks like and how it works, here's what I like about the texas method:


  • The texas method is incredibly simple


The texas method beautifully fits an entire mesocycle of training (load then deload then supercompensate) into a single week of training. Volume day provides the accumulation of load, recovery day acts as a deload, whilst intensity day is where you get to demonstrate your newfound strength.

  • The texas method programme is more like a template


Years of working in strength & conditioning coaching have taught me that different people really do respond better to different things. The great thing about the texas method is that it is incredibly easy to adapt to a wide variety of goals. I've successfully used versions of it with both weightlifters and powerlifters, as well as with judo players and even long-distance runners.

  • The Texas method program has been extensively tried and tested


Since the program is popular and has been around for quite some time, thousands if not tens of thousands of people have used it and made great progress. That means there is loads of great information out there to help you troubleshoot any problems. Plus if you want to see that it works, all you need to do is go to google and search something like:


- texas method results

- texas method before and after

- texas method review reddit


And you'll get plenty of results to browse through and compare.



Texas Method Cons


No texas method review would be complete without a list of cons, but I have to be honest, there really aren't that many of them. Plus, since the programme is super easy to adapt, most cons can easily be worked around. Nevertheless, here are a couple of things that I've seen people struggle with:


  • The volume day can become incredibly tough


High volume squats plus bench plus power cleans (or deadlift variation) can make for one heck of a tough workout. After a few weeks on the texas method, this workout can easily take 90-120 minutes to complete. Realistically you'll want to make sure you've had a good meal 2 to 3 hours beforehand, and some caffeine in your system can help too.


To be fair though, you can always switch to a 4-day texas method variation if needed.


  • Limited exercise selection


Texas method's simplicity can also be one of its drawbacks, as you'll only be performing a limited number of exercises each week, which might get repetitive for some people, and doesn't offer much opportunity to target any weak spots.


Again though, the texas method is incredibly easy to adjust, so exercises can be changed without much hassle



  • Hitting weekly 5 rep maxes can be stressful


As a coach, I've found that some athletes are workhorses, whilst others are racing horses. Racing horses absolutely live for the maximal effort, high-intensity work, and can't wait to hit new 5 or 3 rep maxes. Workhorses on the other hand tend to prefer volume, they show up and consistently put in plenty of work with lower intensities. For workhorse type athletes, having to hit new 5 or 3 rep maxes every single week can become a bit mentally draining.


*FYI: You can work around this by having friday be a kind of 'hybrid' day, where athletes perform 2 or 3x5 at a weight slighter heavier than monday.


Texas Method Review: Is Texas Method Good?


I would absolutely recommend the texas method for almost any intermediate lifter, especially for someone just finishing a linear progression such as stronglifts or starting strength.


The simplicity and proven effectiveness are hard to beat, but what really sells it for me is how the texas method essentially works as a template that you can adapt to your specific goals and situation.


Even the cons I've listed such as volume day fatigue, limited exercise selection and stressful intensity days can all be worked around with a few simple shifts




Texas Method Frequently Asked Questions


How long should I run the Texas method?


Honestly, run the texas method for as long as you can, until it's no longer possible to make progress on a weekly basis. For most people I like to have them progress each week for 5-8 weeks, then take an easier deload week, then progress for another 5-8 weeks with a slightly different rep scheme. I will repeat this approach for as long as possible.



Can I do a 4 day Texas Method Programme?


Absolutely you can. The 4-day texas method is a popular approach used to spread the volume and intensities days over 2 days, making them more manageable. It looks like:


  • Monday: Bench or press volume

  • Tuesday: Squat and Power clean (or deadlift variation) volume

  • Thursday: Bench Intensity

  • Friday: Squat and Deadlift Intensity


Do I have to do the Power Cleans?


Nope, you can swap power cleans out for 2-3 moderate sets of deadlifts on day 1. Or if you still want to do something explosive, you can do 5 sets of 3 box jumps or broad jumps.



What Should I Do If I Stall/Miss a PR on Intensity Day


Cry in shame! Jk, eventually everyone misses, but it might just be a bad day. I recommend that if you don't achieve a new PR for two intensity sessions in a row, then it's probably time to take a deload week and allow for full recovery before going again. In many cases, this solves the problem completely. If not, then change your rep scheme. e.g. instead of using 5's, use 3's for a while.



Does Texas method build mass?


The texas method isn't ideal for building mass. The reps tend to be too low, as is the total number of sets per week. With that said, if you scroll up you'll see the 'powerbuilding' texas method variation, which offers a decent compromise between getting strong but also building muscle.



Texas Method for older lifters?


You can use the texas method, but from experience coaching masters lifters I would recommend starting with a lower weekly volume. So do 3x5 squats and 3x5 bench instead of 5x5 on your volume day. This is sometimes called the 'old man texas method' . After a few weeks, you'll get a good sense of how you're recovering, and you can adjust your total number of sets from there.



Texas Method vs Madcow


Honestly, both programmes are very similar, using a 3 day per week volume, recovery and intensity day structure. They also use very similar exercises, sets and rep schemes. Madcow has a bit more volume as it uses ramped sets (5's all the way up top set) rather than a warm-up plus straight sets. You can find a full comparison here.



Next Steps


Alright, that's enough reading for today, time to lift some stuff.


1) If the texas method sounds like a good programme for you, get in the gym and start working through it. If not, pick something else that suits you better.


2) If you want more training tips, workouts and programmes, feel free to join my mailing list.


3) And if you're looking for 1:1 strength and conditioning coaching you can find more information about my services here, or ask me to write you a custom programme.

'Til Next Time


Alex

Alex Parry, MSc, BA


Alex is the Head content writer and Coach at Character Strength & Conditioning, as well as an Assistant Lecturer and PhD Researcher at the University of Hull.


His experience includes 7+ years within professional strength and conditioning, as well as working as a tutor & educator for British Weightlifting.

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